In a city where up to 5,000 people are thought to be homeless, a non-profit group has announced plans to build a facility that would provide residential space as well as educational opportunities.
What is being called the Homeless Vision 2018 is a proposal put together by the Greater Albuquerque Business Alliance, which is made up of some forty business leaders, to provide an alternative to endemic homelessness in the city.
The project would see the construction of several dorm-like facilities that could house at any given time as many as 170 people.
Planned for a site on 2nd Street SW, south of Bridge Boulevard SW, the project would also include separate dorms for veterans, families, and men and women.
There would also be a childcare center, as well as a communal building housing a gymnasium, cafeteria, and classrooms.
The classroom would be used for General Education Development learning, as well as life skills training.
Officials with the alliance say they are in negotiations with the owner of the site. It is thought that it will cost around $2 million to build the homeless facility as currently planned.
The issue of homelessness has been a long-standing challenge in Albuquerque, particularly in its downtown and historic Barelas neighborhood.
“Regardless of their mental states, homeless people have been drawn to Albuquerque’s warm climate for decades,” noted reporter Rick Nathanson in the Albuquerque Journal earlier this summer, “they’re not going away, and they need social services to survive and to perhaps break the cycle of homelessness.”
By Garry Boulard
Up to $53 million in federal funding has been awarded for a wide array of innovative efforts designed to advance photovoltaic and solar thermal power.
The money is coming from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
In announcing the funding, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, in a statement, remarked, “Innovation is key to solar’s continued growth in our nation’s energy portfolio. It increases our energy diversity and reinforces our ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy.”
The funding, which includes nearly $28 million for photovoltaics research and development, is for projects based in 21 states, as well as the District of Columbia.
In that category, the Colorado School of Mines is receiving $200,000 for research work in mixed perovskite photovoltaics; while Arizona State University has also been awarded $50,000 for work on high performance silicon solar cells.
Also, the Amtech Systems company, based in Tempe, Arizona, has won $1.1 million for its work on field effect passivation in crystalline silicon solar cells.
In the area of solar power research and development, the Department of Energy is awarding a total of $12.4 million in grants including $321,000 for the development of front surface concentrated solar power reflectors at the Sundog Solar Technology company in Arvada, Colorado.
Another $1.8 million is going to the Colorado School of Mines for the development of fluidized beds to be used for effective particle thermal energy transport and storage.
The solar power research and development awards are designed in particular to fund early stage research projects that can lead to a 50 percent reduction in energy costs between now and 2030.
According to a Department of Energy press release, such projects “will develop and test new ways to accelerate the integration of emerging technologies into the solar industry.”
The Trump Administration has pushed for reducing solar and other renewable spending by the DOE. But at the same time it has emphasized an increase in projects that can lead to more jobs.
This latest list of awards showed a total of $12.7 million being awarded in the workforce initiative category.
By Garry Boulard
Plans have been announced for the building out of a 620-acre site in metro Denver that will be used primarily for its rail access and connections.
Rocky Mountain Resources has announced that it wants to build what is being called the Rocky Mountain Rail Park near the intersection of I-10 and Manilla Road, roughly 30 miles to the east of downtown Denver.
That location, to the south of the Colorado Air and Space Port, will be served by a Union Pacific connection allowing for the rail transport of any number of goods, including possibly a variety of construction materials.
As envisioned, the location would see the building of a number of company distribution facilities and warehouses that need reliable rail transportation.
Rocky Mountain Resources, which has offices in Denver and Los Angeles and specializes in buying and developing industrial properties, will build for its own purposes on at least 150 acres of the park.
The project is in the process of securing approval from both the Union Pacific Railroad as well as Adams County.
Rocky Mountain Resources officials have said they expect to see work on the site beginning sometime next summer.
By Garry Boulard
After several years of discussions, officials in Mohave County have at last agreed on a game plan for the construction of a new county courthouse.
The structure, which could cost just a little under $20 million to build, will go up in downtown Kingman and is expected to measure around 66,300 square feet.
The four-story building will house courtroom space, a lobby, judges’ chambers, staff areas and offices, and will be built adjacent to the existing Superior Courthouse at 401 E. Spring Street.
As currently planned, a bridge or enclosed corridor will also be built to connect the two structures.
A Request for Proposals has now been issued by the county, with a deadline date of December 6, for the project.
Money for the courthouse construction will be coming from a county quarter-cent sales tax.
The Phoenix-based Dick & Fritsche Design Group is handling the design for the project.
It is thought that it could take up to two years, once construction begins, to complete the project.
A common public space fronting the old and new planned structure will remain in place, as will an iconic 1928 copper statue dedicated to the veterans of World War I.
By Garry Boulard
Just released figures from the Washington-based American Institute of Architects indicate that new project work is particularly buoyant in the Midwest and South, and lagging only a little in the West.
Those numbers, said Kermit Baker, chief economist with the AIA, are “similar to the strong conditions we’ve seen nationally.”
But Baker, in a statement, also pointed out that new billings have remained “soft at firms located in the Northeast again, where they have declined or been flat for the entire year so far.”
The institute’s Architecture Billings Index overall had a score in September of 51.1, down marginally from the 54.2 posted in August.
Despite that decline, new projects being taken on by firms in general seem to indicate continued growth heading into early 2019.
The AIA compiles it numbers and billings pattern based on information sent to it by member firms across the country.
Those responses in the most recent survey additionally indicate that institutional and multi-family residential firms are leading the industry in billings, followed by mixed practice and commercial and industrial firms.
By Garry Boulard
In an effort to spur the construction of a massive $160 million project that would include a water park, hotel, and convention center, the City of El Paso is putting together a one-of-a-kind incentives package.
That package will also include a land trade with El Paso developer and real estate investor Paul Foster, who owns the property on the west side of the city targeted for the complex.
As hoped, the incentives package would bring in the Madison, Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Lodge for the development and ownership of a complex that will include a 10,000 square foot convention center, a hotel with around 350 rooms, and an indoor water park.
El Paso is also offering Great Wolf Lodge a $5 million development grant, as well as a 15-year break on sales, property, and hotel occupancy taxes.
The project would be built on some 44 acres across the way from the West Towne Marketplace shopping center, located in the 6400 block of N. Desert Boulevard.
If all of the preliminary arrangements can be worked out, Great Wolf Lodge would have until early 2020 to decide whether the numbers are right for building in El Paso.
As part of the preliminary maneuvering to get the project going, the City of El Paso would trade just over 2,300 acres on the northeast side of the city to obtain the 44 acres owned by Foster for the Great Wolf project.
Both the incentives package and land swap are awaiting the approval of the El Paso City Council.
Great Wolf Lodge, advertising what it calls an “integrated, branded family vacation experience,” opened its first resort in Wisconsin Dells in 1997 and today has just under two dozen operating locations across the country.
By Garry Boulard
general obligation funding could pay for the demolition of more than 30 year-old fire training tower at san juan college
San Juan College could see the demolition of a long-standing tower used for the school’s fire science program, as well as extensive roof replacement on various campus structures, if the state wide General Obligation Bond D is passed in November.
That $128 million bond will fund campus capital construction projects throughout New Mexico.
Of that amount, some $5.5 million will go for the tower demolition work.
School officials have long said that they want to remove the tower in order to make way for the $25 million construction of new student housing on the northwest corner of the main Farmington campus.
The school announced earlier this year that it would be building a new four-story replacement tower at another location on campus.
The older tower was built in the early 1980s.
The funding for this year’s New Mexico Obligation Bond D, by law, is designed to replace general obligation bonds that were passed in 2008 and designed for a 10-year life.
By Garry Boulard
Although the nation’s inflation-adjusted gross domestic product has posted an impressive 3.5 percent gain from July to September of this year, investment in a number of non-residential construction structure projects saw a significant decline.
Those numbers, just released by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, show in particular a 4.9 percent drop in commercial and health care structures investment, along with 5 percent drop in manufacturing structures.
A much larger decline from the late summer of last year to the late summer of this year was seen in power and communications structures project investment, which dropped by exactly 13 percent.
Overall, investment in residential projects was also reported on the downside, with a decline of 4 percent. In that category, single-family structure investment was off by 6.2 percent, while multifamily structure investment declined by a significantly larger 16 percent.
Going in the other direction, government investment in structures overall was up by 14 percent, versus only 5 percent last year during the same time period.
In that category, investment in defense structures posted a 6.8 percent gain, while non-defense structure investment was up by a very large 45 percent.
A statement released from the Bureau of Economic Analysis notes that the overall increase in the nation’s gross domestic product “reflected positive contributions from a combination of both private and public spending.”
Even so, that 3.5 percent gross domestic product figure was down from the 4.2 percent recorded in the spring of this year.
By Garry Boulard
In a move to respond to a lack of moderately-priced housing in Flagstaff, a proposition there will be asking voters in November to approve legal language that could result in the construction of new affordable rental units.
Proposition 422, if approved, will give the City of Flagstaff the power to use some $25 million in bonds to build new housing for those with moderate incomes.
The proposition specifically calls for bonded funding for “construction, rehabilitation, redevelopment and acquisition of land for housing units.”
The bonds would be used to provide either loans or grants for all affordable income projects, and could lead to the creation of hundreds of new rental units.
As proposed, the proposition would see the creation of an affordable housing committee, to be appointed by the Flagstaff City Council, that would determine funding for proposed affordable income construction projects.
According to a group called the Arizona Housing Coalition, Flagstaff currently has the largest gap between the average wage and average cost of rent in Arizona.
The site Rentjungle.com reports that the average rent for a one- to two-bedroom apartment in Flagstaff, as of last month, was $1473, up from $1254 last year at the same time.
Members of the Flagstaff City Council voted to approve putting Proposition 422 on the fall ballot in July, after reducing the amount of the bond from its original $35 million.
By Garry Boulard
continued big renovation of university of new mexico chemistry building dependent on november bond passage
A structure, originally completed in 1952 that has served more than three generations of students on the main campus of the University of New Mexico, may soon see up to $16 million in renovations.
“This building still has its vintage 1950s electrical system, and that’s not good,” says Stephen Cabaniss of the Clark Hall, which houses the university’s chemistry and chemical biology department.
“This past winter we actually had the heating system in the main lecture hall die completely.” Cabaniss, a professor of analytical and environmental chemistry at UNM, continues, “Students were being taught with the temperature at around 40 degrees F.”
Faculty members and students have also complained about the building’s faulty electrical and plumbing systems, as well as the structure’s leaking roof.
All of that will change if voters in November approve the statewide General Obligation Bond D, which will provide up to $128 million for higher education facility construction and upgrades across New Mexico.
Of that amount, exactly $16 million will target the renovation of Clark Hall, also popularly called the Chemistry Building. The structure, designed by legendary New Mexico architect John Gaw Meem, is located on the west central side of the campus.
Built during a roughly one-year period in the early 1950s for $489,000, Clark Hall is named in honor of John Dustin Clark, a long-standing chemistry professor at UNM. The Riebsomer Addition to the building is named after former chemistry professor and department chairman Jesse Riebsomer.
The planned renovation project is actually the second phase of an effort launched in 2013 after New Mexico voters approved a general obligation bond of the year before providing $16 million in funding for the initial phase.
“All of that is now done,” says Cabaniss of the first phase work, which was focused on lab renovations, renovating bathrooms for Americans With Disabilities Act compliance, and new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing system work.
The new project will focus almost entirely on the remodeling of nearly 39,000 square feet of Chemistry Building space, along with the completion of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.
Phase II work will also see the modernization of offices and classrooms in the building.
Additional work will include the remodeling of the school’s Chemical & Research Laboratory Supplies storage and services area, which will include an adjacent storage and transportation yard, and a reconstruction of Clark Hall’s auditorium.
Also slated for work in phase two is the completion of some 8,300 square feet of shelled research lab space, providing modern and high-tech research space to be used by both UNM students and faculty.
The phase two completion project, says Cabaniss, will also serve an important public relations function for UNM.
“Students first seeing the condition that the teacher labs have been in have not been impressed,” he says. “There are high schools in the area that have better teaching labs than we have had for our upper classmen.”
“And it has been discouraging to the faculty as well,” Cabaniss continues. “They have said that they want to be at a university that is serious about supporting their research, not one where they have to constantly be worried about the quality of the power supply or air handling.”
In an interview with the school’s Daily Lobo newspaper, Karen Ann Smith, research facilities director for UNM’s Chemistry Department, additionally remarked: “We think that we will be able to provide the students with better lab experiences that are climate controlled and experiments that are more relevant to what they’re going to be doing looking forward from UNM.”
The phase two renovation work will most likely see planning beginning next year, with actual construction starting in 2020 and possibly concluding by the summer of the following year.
If passed, Bond D will additionally provide just over $4.2 million for a project at UNM’s Taos campus which will see the construction of a new building for the College Pathways to Career Center.
Another $7 million in Bond D funding will go for the construction of a Reserve Officer Training Corps building that will house the Army, Navy, and Air Force programs on the main UNM campus.
By Garry Boulard